One of Russia’s Most ‘Formidable’ Weapons Destroyed in Fiery Blast: Video

Ukraine has released footage it says shows its forces taking out a Russian thermobaric launcher known for its destructive capabilities.

“Russians consider their TOS-1A Solntsepyok Heavy Flamethrower System as one of the most formidable weapons,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry posted on X (formerly Twitter) next to the 31-second clip. “Ukrainians know that this weapon explodes amazingly after being hit,” the post said.

Since the start of the war, Russia has used the TOS-1A system, which it designates as a “heavy flame-thrower.” The multiple rocket launcher can use thermobaric warheads mounted on the chassis of a T-72 or T-90 main battle tank.

Thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs, use two detonations to create more destructive explosions and are frequently used to destroy light armored vehicles and troops in open terrain. The Washington D.C.-based think tank, the Institute for the Study of War, calls them “highly destructive, but scarce artillery assets.”

The undated clip Ukraine posted Tuesday starts with an overhead view of the Russian vehicle driving along a road in an undisclosed location. It then cuts to a view from the side and ends with an explosion in the distance, although there are no other details provided of how it was targeted.

Newsweek has not independently verified the footage and has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment by email. Videos on social media recently have shown strikes on the TOS-1A Solntsepyok including one in the Kherson region in November, apparently targeted by a drone.

The latest clip comes as a fierce fight for Avdiivka continues to rage, amid reports that Russian forces have made advances toward the town in the Donetsk Oblast which analysts predict will soon be captured by Moscow.

Meanwhile, Kyiv awaits news about the fate of a $60 billion aid package which was passed by the Senate early Tuesday but will now go to the GOP-controlled House, where it faces obstacles after months of deadlock.

Analysis by the London-based think tank, the Royal United Services Institute, published on Tuesday described the importance of continued Western aid for Kyiv especially if Russian combat power deteriorated in the coming year.

“The Russian theory of victory is plausible if Ukraine’s international partners fail to properly resource the AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine),” the RUSI report said.

“However, if Ukraine’s partners continue to provide sufficient ammunition and training support to the AFU to enable the blunting of Russian attacks in 2024, then Russia is unlikely to achieve significant gains in 2025.”

This illustrative image shows Ukrainian soldiers driving a tank on a road in Lyman district, Donetsk region, on January 21, 2024. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a video it says shows Ukraine’s forces targeting a TOS-1A…